Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-Texas) and Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-California), leaders of the Subcommittee on Health for the Energy and Commerce Committee, released the following statements on the United States Public Health Service Modernization Act of 2019 that they introduced Tuesday.
“This legislation builds on the great work of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2019 by empowering the Ready Reserve Corps,” said Burgess, whose district includes Denton County. “It is essential that we address the challenges of ensuring there are health care professionals on standby to provide quality care during disease outbreaks and natural disasters. We must remember that infectious diseases are a serious threat in our global community, and the United States must remain prepared and ready to respond. Much of public health is local and executed on the ground by our hospitals, health departments, and emergency responders who are our front lines addressing infectious diseases, disasters, and threats, and our Ready Reserve Corps plays a critical role in executing those missions.”
“I’m pleased to introduce this bipartisan legislation with Rep. Burgess that ensures the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Corps has the resources it needs to respond to public health crises and national emergencies,” Rep. Eshoo said. “Our legislation creates a standing reserve of public health professionals, enabling USPHS to keep current projects on track while deploying health professionals where they’re needed most during crises. As our nation faces an increasing number of natural and manmade disasters, it is critical that our public health infrastructure is equipped to meet emergent demands without jeopardizing the important, everyday work of USPHS in our communities.”
This legislation is a technical fix that allows the Ready Reserve Corps members to be paid the retirement benefits they have earned, according to a press release. The Ready Reserve Corps serves an important function as America’s uniformed service of public health professionals that assist in public health crises, it stated.
The Ready Reserve Corps serves as the frontline for protecting our nation’s public health. The Corps:
- Provides essential health care services to underserved and vulnerable communities;
- Deploys during public health emergences;
- Leads public health programs and policy development; and
- Advances science and innovation to fight against critical health issues facing our nation such as the opioid epidemic, mental health, lead contamination and food safety.